Apple's 'Lucky Bags' discount promotion draws crowds in Japan

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Apple's participation in a cultural event in Japan known as "Lucky Bags" has drawn even more attention to the company's already popular retail stores.

"Lucky Bags" are a New Years Day tradition at stores in Japan, in which customers buy a mystery bag that features a number of items, usually at a discount. This year, some of the most sought after Lucky Bags in Japan are Apple's, according to

This year's Lucky Bag from Apple costs 33,000 yen, or about 435 U.S. dollars. Customers lined up overnight at Apple's retail stores in order to buy a mystery bag and see what's inside.

It's the mystery and surprise of what's inside the Lucky Bag that draws in customers, who are hoping for a pleasant surprise, like an iPad or maybe a Mac. Customers braved rain and cold in order to get their hands on a 2012 Apple Lucky Bag.

One bag grabbed by a customer and pictured at Japanese-language website Macotakara included an 11-inch MacBook Air. Apple's smallest ultraportable notebook typically retails for 999 U.S. dollars, which means the Lucky Bag recipient saved more than 500 dollars in their gamble.

Another pictured bag came with a 16GB Wi-Fi-only iPad 2, which is ordinarily 499 U.S. dollars Yet another pictured Lucky Bag came with an 8GB iPod touch, an iPod touch case, remote room monitor, Incase Reflex, Mophie Juice Pack, Apple t-shirt, and collectible pins.

Apple has a total of seven retail stores in Japan, located in Ginza, Shibuya, FukuokaTenjin, Shinsaibashi, Sendailchibancho, Sapporo and NagoyaSakae. Some of those stores played a crucial role last year following a devastating earthquake, allowing people to recharge their electronics and get in touch with loved ones.